October 2017

Farshi Gharara
[Fashion & Beauty-February 2011]

The farshi gharara or pajama is a late 17th and early 20th century dress of the privileged classes of Uttar Pradesh. It was worn by royalty in the Muslim courts.¬†The farshi gharara has been modeled after flowing ball¬†gowns worn by British noblewomen. There are three parts to this outfit: the kurta, the dupatta, and the farshi pajama which is a flowing two legged skirt held together by drawstrings. It falls straight to the ankles and then starts flaring from there and falling to the floor. The farshi pajama is now often called farshi gharara, a term that was not used before the mid 20th century. The term farshi gharara is said to be a distortion and is a confusion caused by the farshi pajama’s similarity with the gharara.

Farshi comes from the word farsh, meaning floor. When the word pajama is added it means a bottom-wear garment that falls on the floor generously. As one walks it trails, however, the wearer holds the dress carefully pulling up and folding the excess flaring trail and holding it in her left hand while keeping the right one free so that the dress does not trail. The farshi gharara was made with a large quantity of cloth that historically consisted of 9-15 yards of expensive fabric embroidered with gold and silver threads. This reflects the grandeur and extravagance of the nobles and rulers of that era.

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